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Switzerland: Upper House of Parliament Rejects Burqa and Niqab Ban

(Mar. 15, 2017) On March 9, 2017, the Swiss Council of States (upper house of Parliament) rejected by a vote of 26 to 9, with 4 abstentions, a parliamentary initiative to ban the full body and face veil (burqa) and the face veil (niqab) and amend the Swiss Constitution accordingly.  The Council of States is […]

ECtHR/Switzerland: Compulsory Co-Ed Swim Classes Do Not Infringe Freedom of Religion

(Jan. 24, 2017) On January 10, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held unanimously that a decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which upheld an administrative fine for the refusal of Muslim parents to send their 9- and 11-year-old daughters to compulsory co-ed swim lessons as part of their schooling, did not […]

Switzerland: Accelerated Nuclear Energy Exit Rejected

(Nov. 30, 2016) On November 27, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 54.2% to 45.8% the Nuclear Energy Withdrawal Initiative. (Vorlage Nr. 608, Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse [Proposal No. 608, Preliminary Official Results], Swiss Federal Chancellery website (Nov. 27, 2016).) The initiative would have accelerated Switzerland’s exit from nuclear energy use, with three plants closing in 2017, […]

Switzerland: Rejection of Abolishment of Marriage Tax Penalty and Constitutional Definition of Marriage

(Mar. 11, 2016) On February 28, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a narrow vote of 50.8% to 49.2% a referendum to abolish the marriage tax penalty in Swiss law. (Vorlage Nr. 596, Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse [Initiative No. 596, Preliminary Official Results], Schweizerische Bundeskanzlei [Swiss Federal Chancellery] website (Feb. 28, 2016).) The “marriage penalty” refers to tax provisions […]

Switzerland: Extended Deportation of Criminal Foreigners Rejected

(Mar. 7, 2016) On February 28, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 58.9% to 41.1% the “Enforcement Initiative.” The initiative proposed the automatic deportation of foreigners who committed certain crimes, regardless of the imposed penalty. Foreigners are defined as persons who do not hold Swiss passports. (Volksinitiative “Zur Durchsetzung der Ausschaffung krimineller Ausländer“ […]

Switzerland: Adoption of Ordinance Banning Islamic State and Related Groups

(Oct. 17, 2014) The Federal Council, Switzerland’s Cabinet, adopted the Ordinance on the Prohibition of the Islamic State Group (IS) and Related Organisations on October 8, 2014. (The Federal Council Adopts Ordinance Banning the Islamic State Group and Related Organisations, Federal Authorities of Switzerland website (Oct. 8, 2014); Etat islamique [text of the Ordinance in […]

Switzerland: Referendum Rejects Limits on Executive Pay

(Dec. 12, 2013) On November 24, 2012, the Swiss people voted on a popular initiative that would have amended the Swiss Constitution by adding a new article 110a to limit executive pay to 12 times the pay of the lowest-paid worker in the company. (Eidgenössische Volksinitiative ÆÂ?:12 – Für gerechte Löhne,’ Federal Chancellery website (Dec. […]

Switzerland; United States: Agreement on Tax Dispute

(Oct. 17, 2013) Switzerland and the United States signed an Executive Agreement on August 29, 2013, that was designed to end a dispute between the two countries on issues relating to the conduct of Swiss banks in allegedly having assisted U.S. taxpayers in the commission of tax evasion. (Press Release, Swiss Federal Department of Finance, […]

Switzerland: Referendum on Executive Pay

(Mar. 27, 2013) On Sunday, March 3, 2013, the Swiss people voted for a popular initiative to limit executive pay. Voter participation was over 45%, and 68% of those voting supported the measure. (Volksabstimmung vom 3. März, 2013:08.080 «Gegen die Abzockerei» Volksinitiative [Popular Vote of March 2013, Popular Initiative Against Being “Ripped Off”], Die Bundesversammlung […]